GVU Brown Bag: Sherry Turkle

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday March 31, 2011 - Friday April 1, 2011
      12:00 pm - 12:59 pm
  • Location: TSRB 132
  • Phone:
  • URL: http://www.gvu.gatech.edu
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Summary Sentence: MIT professor Sherry Turkle talks about communication technologies and how they redraw the boundries between intimacy and solitude.

Full Summary: MIT professor Sherry Turkle talks about communication technologies and how they redraw the boundries between intimacy and solitude.

Alone Together


Technology proposes itself an architect of our intimacies. And these days, technology offers us substitutes for direct face-to-face connection with people in a world of machine-mediated relationships on networked devices. As we instant message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude. We talk of getting “rid” of our e-mails, as though these notes were so much excess baggage. Teenagers as well as adults avoid the telephone, fearful that it reveals too much. Besides, it takes too long; across the generations, we would rather text than talk.

Tethered to technology, we are shaken when that world unplugged does not signify, does not satisfy. Yet after an evening of avatar-to-avatar talk in a networked game, we may feel at one moment, in possession of a full social life, and in the next, curiously isolated, in tenuous complicity with strangers.

The world of our connections comes with so many bounties. But we begin to see that some things are amiss: sometimes we are too busy communicating to think, too busy communicating to create, and paradoxically, too busy communicating to connect with the people who matter.


Sherry Turkle is a professor of Sociology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is well known for her writings concerning the sociological implications of human computer interaction, specifically the usage of MUD, MOO, and on-line chat systems.  She has written several well-known books and numerous papers on this subject and is quoted often in magazines and books.

Her most recent book,  Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, further explores the use and, in some cases, overuse of the Internet to communicate.  It is a well written book full of interesting case studies of various heavy users of the Internet, some of which claim that they cannot cope with the difficulties of real life human interaction. She also explores the existence of multiple selves and the usage of multiple identities when on-line, (e.g. why some women assume male gender roles when on-line, why shy people become extroverts in chat rooms, etc.)

Prof. Turkle has received numerous awards and accolades. In 1995, she was selected member of  "50 for the Future: the Most Influential People to Watch in Cyberspace," by Newsweek Magazine. More recently, she has been named one of top "50 Cyber Elite by Time Digital Magazine," and had "Seeing Through Computers" selected as one of Top 20 Articles of the year by the American Library Association's Library Instruction Round Table.

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

GVU Center, College of Computing, School of Interactive Computing

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brown bag, GVU, hcc, HCI
  • Created By: Renata Le Dantec
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 15, 2011 - 9:58am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 9:54pm